DC again requests National Guard help with busloads of migrants from Texas, Arizona

Migrants at respite center
Photo credit The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The mayor of Washington, D.C. is doubling down on her request for the government to deploy the National Guard in the city "to help prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis" from the influx of migrants arriving on buses from Texas and Arizona.

Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, nearly a week after he denied her initial request to activate the National Guard to help with the "daily arrival of migrants in need of assistance."

"We need help from our federal partners as we seek to stabilize and manage our operating environment in this critical moment," Bowser wrote.

Thousands of migrants have arrived in the city in recent months, and Bowser said they are putting a strain on the city's homeless shelters and social services. A regional service center for the migrants has been established in nearby Maryland, but it too is becoming overwhelmed and assistance is needed there as well, she added.

"We note most arriving migrants do not plan to stay in Washington, DC or the National Capital Region; instead, they need support—usually for 72 hours—before moving to their final destination," Bowser wrote in her letter.

The mayor is requesting at least 150 D.C. National Guard members be deployed to the nation's capital to help manage existing and new respite sites, including facility management, feeding, sanitation and ground support.

The mayor is also requesting to convert the DC Armory or another federal site to serve as a processing center and respite facility for the migrants, supported with transportation assets from the National Guard.

"The Guard is uniquely resourced to provide emergency logistical support," Bowser wrote. "We, likewise encourage the federal government, as I have expressed to White House officials, to help asylum seekers in ways similar to systems set up for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees."

Bowser is requesting assistance by August 22 for a period of 90 days, with an option to reevaluate their needs at that time and extend National Guard deployment if necessary.

In denying the request earlier this month, Austin said the Department of Defense determined that providing support would "negatively impact the readiness of the DCNG and have negative effects on the organization and members," CNN reported. Austin expressed concern about the request's "open-ended nature," adding that grant funding through FEMA's Emergency Food and Shelter Program would be sufficient.

It's unclear if Austin will consider Bowser's second appeal. A Department of Defense spokesperson confirmed the letter was received and said the request is pending.

"The Secretary takes this request for assistance very seriously," the spokesperson told Fox News. "He and his team are working through the details and will respond to the mayor's office as soon as a decision has been reached."

Bowser has previously blamed Texas and Arizona for creating the problem in her city, saying it's "obviously politically motivated."

Texas has transported more than 6,800 migrants to the nation's capital since April, according to the office of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The governor directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to send the migrants to Washington "to provide relief to overrun border communities and bring the reality of the crisis to the federal government’s doorstep."

"The reason why we're sending the migrants is very simple. Local communities were overwhelmed with the thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrants who have been dumped off in the communities by Border Patrol," Abbott told KMID. "The people who are coming across the border just continues to increase.”

The governor has said the busing mission will not stop until President Joe Biden secures the border.